Everyone knows how hard it is to maintain a healthy diet when the festive season rolls around, and you’re surrounded by tempting food and drinks are flowing. But knowing your ‘diet type’ can actually help you manage your foot intake and help you stick to a healthy, balanced eating plan.
The 5 diet types
The CSIRO Diet Types research of over 90,000 Australians reveals why our personal diet type plays an important role. There are five distinct types, and each has different challenges to overcome when it comes to the festive season.
Understanding your diet type will help you be better equipped to recognise your personal challenges and know how to stay on track during social events.
The 5 types are:
- The Thinker
- The Craver
- The Socialiser
- The Foodie
- The Freewheeler
Who are they?
The Thinker is a great planner but tends to overthink and is anxious about failure, which often derails their diet. They may set unrealistic expectations and give themselves little margin for error.
Thinkers put a lot of effort into achieving goals and are disciplined to reach their goals.
They don’t like to make mistakes and might dwell on situations where they’ve “messed up” or haven’t followed a diet “exactly as specified”, which may lead them to procrastinate or abandon their goals if they’ve had a bad day.
Tips for the Thinker
- Use your great planning skills, and prepare or choose your meals ahead of time by selecting healthy options. If you’re going to a party, you could offer to bring a platter of fresh fruit or veggie sticks with vegetable-based dips
- Be kind to yourself and avoid the negative self-talk. Eating is for life and it’s okay to have a ‘bad day’. The trick is not giving up altogether.
Who are they?
The Craver finds resisting temptation to be the hardest, especially chocolate and sweets. They don’t need to be hungry to eat. Their heightened experience of cravings can lead to overeating in a variety of tricky situations.
Cravers have a willingness to be healthy and have a desire to stick to a strict diet.
While they have a desire to be healthy, their tendency to be overly strict when dieting could make their healthy eating attempts short-lived. They easily overindulge when tempting food is about. Those party buffets and sweet festive treats can be impossible to resist.
Tips for the Craver
- When cravings hit, go for the healthier alternatives. Swap the chocolate and cake for delicious fresh fruits or a healthy delicious treat alternative.
- Treat yourself with a small indulgence as a reward for sticking to a healthy diet plan.
Who are they?
The Socialiser loves eating out with family, friends or colleagues, so finds it hard to manage what they eat and drink in social situations. More than any other type, the Socialiser needs a flexible eating plan that allows them the freedom to enjoy their social life, or they just won’t stick to the diet.
Socialisers are great at motivating and involving others, so can solve the dilemma by encouraging others to have a healthy meal with them. This way they can enjoy their social life and stick to the diet.
While friends bring joy to their life, they can also be a bad influence for the Socialiser, weakening their self-control and leading to consuming extra foods and alcohol.
Tips for the Socialiser
- They can still have fun with friends without overindulging. Swap a glass of alcohol for sparkling water and lime, drink water between drinks and refuse refills.
- When eating out, go for one to two courses instead of three, and order healthy alternatives that are high in protein and low GI to keep you fuller for longer. It’s also generally safer to choose your own meal that you are confident fits in with your diet rather than sharing plates.
Who are they?
The Foodie loves all types of food and the whole food experience. They enjoy making, eating and buying it. This passion of trying and exploring new foods can cause them to overeat or consume too many kilojoules.
Because the Foodie typically loves to try new things, they have a better variety of foods in their diet.
Their love of trying and exploring new foods can cause them to overeat or consume too many kilojoules. Eating large portion sizes or having three or more courses at a meal could be a problem, as well as the alcohol that accompanies a meal. Diets that are boring and repetitive can be a turn-off.
Tips for the Foodie
- Portion control is important. You can still have the delicious foods you love but in smaller portion sizes.
- The Foodie typically enjoys eating out or trying new restaurants, so allow a small indulgence a day or ‘bank’ your indulgences to go towards restaurant meals or your favourite dessert.
Who are they?
The Freewheeler rarely plans and tends to make food choices in the here-and-now, which can be a problem when they are around delicious food and drinks. When trying to lose weight, it’s common for the Freewheeler to get bored quickly or find it hard to stay focused on long term goals.
Freewheelers tend to be spontaneous, which means they can easily be distracted from eating. They are also less likely to get hung up on the past, moving onto the next meal without worrying too much about any mistakes.
Their freewheeling nature might lead to situations where it’s hard to say no, or where there are just too many temptations to stay true to a diet.
Tips for the Freewheeler
- Following a 7-day menu plan may be too onerous for the Freewheeler; instead, try planning 1-2 days ahead.
- Try eating a healthy meal before going to a party or event so you don’t feel overly hungry and can avoid eating high kilojoule party foods. Preparing some ready freeze portion-controlled meals at home is a great way to plan for these situations.
No matter what your diet type, it’s important to remember:
- Don’t give up on your weight loss goals if you haven’t made the best choices.
- Enjoy your festive events and remember it’s just one day.
Pennie McCoy, is an Accredited Practising Dietitian at the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet. For more information on the 5 diet types, head here.